Tuesday, 25 June 2013

SNP should reject emulating UK defence strategy and expenditure.

If Nationalist in Wales  have one argument that an Independent  Wales would be better off over their Scottish counterparts it could well be that they  may not expect to behave a large defence expenditure:

Wales may have supplied soldiers to the British Empire but it was never as prominent as the contribution as Scottish regiments.

Which may reflect that the SNP decision that an Independent Scotland may join NATO though it would reject the storing of Nuclear weapons on their turf.

With this contribution of Army personnel  it seems the SNP fell they cannot declare Scotland would become a neytral country which I suspect Plaid would argue for in the build up to a Welsh referendum

Now a report has suggested that an  independent Scotland would have a limited defence force which would struggle to recruit and retain personnel,.

Think tank The Scotland Institute  have  produced what it claimed was a "comprehensive review".

"This latest one, titled Defence and Security in an Independent Scotland, had input from armed forces personnel, defence academics, former secretaries of defence and senior officials from Nato, UK MOD and the EU.
It was chaired by Major-General Andrew Mackay who commanded a Task Force in Afghanistan and served in the army for 27 years.
In the report's foreword, he said: "I cannot see how slicing up a competent and well established military will aid either the United Kingdom or an independent Scotland.
"Indeed, I see very real risks to the people of Scotland, be it from the loss of jobs and the local economic impact that the inevitable removal of the Faslane naval base would bring, the huge costs necessary to start building the armed forces from afresh, the loss of access to sensitive intelligence materials and the inevitable dilution in the quality and number of the armed forces of this small island, which to date have had such a profound effect upon the course of world events."
The report suggested that after independence Scotland would be more vulnerable to terrorist and cyber attack because it would need time to establish an intelligence body capable of dealing with these threats.

Limited functions

It insisted that post-Yes Scotland would not be either "cheaper or easier to defend".The authors believed what would result would be a "very small military force, able to perform a limited number of niche functions such as protecting Scotland's fisheries and oil refineries".It also judged that an independent Scotland would find it difficult to maintain an air force "of any consequence" and would possess a "truncated navy stripped of submarine forces".

BBC 24 June 2013

However, SNP MP Mr Robertson hit back saying that there would be better defence decisions in Scotland post independence.

Since he was critical of the UK government's move in recent years to close bases, disband units and scrap "vital" capabilities like maritime patrol. He appears to be arguing that Scotland may well copy UK numbers and expenditure.

Mr Robertson added:

 "To have serious credibility, this report must also outline Scotland's vast defence assets, as an independent Scotland would of course not be starting from scratch - but the key difference is that after independence, Scotland would decide how to spend all of the money it contributes to defence.
"A sovereign Scotland can therefore increase spending on conventional defence in Scotland while making savings from Trident. An annual defence and security budget of £2.5bn would be around £500m more than is currently spent by the UK government in Scotland - but £1bn less than Scots taxpayers currently contribute to the UK's defence policy.
"Normal democratic countries make their own defence decisions - our best future is to make the right decisions for Scotland and we will be able to do that with independence."

But I'm afraid the SNP are digging themselves into a hole here.

It would be hard to argue that an Independent Scotland would scrap most of the Scottish Regiments and close bases with their Historical links but . Do the SNP really see an independent Scotland emulating the UK in the delusion that they are a World power and need a large standing Army and joining NATO?

Would it not be better to argue that   since Scotland can perceive ant threat from a European neighbour   and it cannot see it self being propelled into an illegal war as Blair did with Iraq?

Scotland should emulate Ireland and not the UK.

Hopefully Plaid will be more honest here  and argue that an Independent Wales will need only a small force and that it hopes that their main function may be to contribute to legitimate peace keeping and aiding in civil disasters.


  1. No Glyn. There are no votes in pacifism or neutrality. It's not worth losing the Independence vote just for the sake of neutrality. Robinson is right.

    An independent state needs an army. There's no point having an army (like ireland who are glorified security guards who leave when war approaches - like Austria who are now leaving the Golan because it's too dangerous!).

    A lot of the ordinary Scots who serve in the Armed forces are patriotic in their own way. They need to be convinced that they have a future in an independent Scotland.

    Robinson is right.

  2. Anon 09:31 It depends on how you see Scotland future, Do you really see Scotland spending huge amounts on an army and navy so it can pretend like the UK its somehow a World power or like Ireland see to contribute to the world peacefully.

    It's not a question of votes its about doing what's right.